I’ve been following some of my friends’ social media updates today about whether their child got their first choice of primary school and it took me right back to my absolute panic when I thought Dexter hadn’t got into his (and my) first choice, my old grammar school. You can read about that absolute debacle HERE.
Dexter is now well and truly embedded into the senior school way of life, not that he necessarily thinks that’s a good thing – I’m pretty sure he wishes he was back at junior school most days, where he was school prefect and top of the class in most subjects.
Neither of us really realised quite how difficult this first year at ‘big’ school would be. I have such lovely memories of going to the same school and I think I underestimated that it would be a completely different experience for Dexter. He’s a boy for one, and life as an 11-year-old in 2016 is a very different experience than it was in 1981. (Oh God, I feel incredibly old right now.)
One of the things that IS very similar is that both he and I coast(ed) at school. I know I could have done better and looking back, I did the bare minimum. I like to think I’ve redeemed myself by going to Uni as a mature student, but maybe life would have been different had I tried harder. I see so much of me in Dexter, not that I tell him mind you, and now reports are coming home from school it’s there in black and white.
A couple of things I’ve done to address this … lack of motivation, shall we say. Firstly, I made him start going to Homework Club. It’s given him focus and it means I don’t have to nag him all evening to get the damn thing done. So less arguments = happy Mum, = happy Dexter.
Secondly, I’ve found a website that offers educational quizzes for all different age ranges/key stages, and if I’m careful, and catch Dexter in a particularly good mood, I can go through one or two with him. It’s something similar to what we did to prepare him for his 11+ exam and it worked really well. I just feel like I’m offering him a little extra support at home which, in turn, hopefully gives him more confidence at school.
It’s hard to go from the top of the class to the middle – to feel like you’ve dropped down the ranks just because everyone around you is bright too, and I’d hate for Dexter to feel like he hates school. He’s a little more settled now we’re nearing the end of Year 7 and I can only hope that continues, but boy, it’s been a rough ride.
My advice to other parents whose children are about to start Year 7 – don’t be surprised if the year is a bigger rollercoaster than you’d anticipated, but it does get slightly easier as the year goes on and they find their way. Keep a dialogue open between yourself, your child and your child’s form tutor and do your best to nip any issues you see arising in the bud.
I honestly wish you both the best of luck!